The Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing, will visit Lake Lanier and Duluth, Ga., Aug. 9-12 to crown bass fishing’s top angler of 2012. Hosted by the Gwinnett Convention & Visitors Bureau, the State of Georgia and the Lake Lanier Convention & Visitors Bureau, the tournament will feature 46 of the world’s best bass pros and co-anglers casting for the sport’s biggest award – $500,000 cash in the Pro Division and $50,000 cash in the Co-angler Division. One pro in particular, Castrol pro David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va., has had an incredible season and is primed to take his shot at bass fishing’s top prize.
“The most exciting thing for me is to get the chance to fish for $500,000,” Dudley said. “It just gets my blood flowing.”
Dudley seems to shine when he fishes in tournaments with very large purses. Key wins in Dudley’s career include the 2003 Forrest Wood Cup on the James River, where he won $500,000, and the 2002 Ranger M1 Millennium that brought a $700,000 payday.
Dudley cemented his third Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year presented by Kellogg’s title in five years at the Lake Champlain event earlier this year. With the title, Dudley became the first pro to win back-to-back AOY crowns. The Angler of the Year title pushed FLW’s leading money winner past the $3 million mark. He was the youngest angler to the $2 million mark. He has accumulated seven FLW wins, 36 top-10 finishes and has qualified for 14 Forrest Wood Cup appearances in his 17 years as a pro.
Dudley said anglers will find Lake Lanier, which is known for spotted bass but has a significant population of largemouth, displaying typical summertime patterns.
“Summertime fishing is always tough, but they’ll be biting,” Dudley said. “There will be a lot of drop-shotting going on, topwater fishing for schooling fish and lots of shaky-head rigs being used.”
Dudley said he thinks the winning angler will need to boat 12 ½ pounds a day to take the title of Forrest Wood Cup champion, however, defending champion National Guard pro Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., said Lanier’s population of largemouth could come into play during the tournament and boost daily weights. Martin said he is excited about the championship event returning to the body of water he calls the ‘jewel of Georgia.’
“I’ve been very blessed to qualify for the Forrest Wood Cup many times in my career, and I’m excited about this one,” Martin said. “What I’m most excited about is I learned a lot the last time we were here in 2010. I didn’t do well at the event, but that was a good thing. It allowed me to see what I was doing wrong. And now it’s put me in a position to want it bad.”
The last time the Forrest Wood Cup was held on Lake Lanier the Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau (GCVB) presented FLW with the Event of the Year award for the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup, and according to the GCVB, the event had more than a $23.2 million impact to the area.
“Lake Lanier is a great spotted bass fishery, a great largemouth fishery, and better yet, has a great population of hard-core bass-fishing fans,” Martin said. “And that’s awesome. There’s nothing better than when you stop in a gas station or the local tackle shop and everyone’s amped up and knows exactly what’s going on with the tournament. It’s exciting to have everyone in the surrounding area well aware of what we’re doing. I think the turnout is going to be one of the best, if not the best ever, we’ve had at a Forrest Wood Cup.”
Anglers will take off from Laurel Park located at 3100 Old Cleveland Highway in Gainesville, Ga., at 7 a.m. each morning. Weigh-ins will be held at the Gwinnett Convention Center located at 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth, Ga., beginning at 5 p.m. daily.
Fans will be treated to the FLW Expo at the Gwinnett Convention Center on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. prior to the weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public. On Saturday 500 free rods and reels will be given away to the first 500 children 14 years and under who are accompanied by an adult. On Sunday 1,000 free rods and reels will be given away to the first 1,000 children 14 years and under who are accompanied by an adult. The rod and reel giveaways are courtesy of the Gwinnett Daily Post. Also on Sunday, one lucky fishing fan will win a Ranger Z520 with a 250-horsepower Evinrude, Lowrance electronics and Minn Kota trolling motor. The Ranger boat giveaway is courtesy of the Gwinnett Daily Post and is free to enter, but the winner must be present at the conclusion of Sunday’s final weigh-in to win.
As part of the FLW Tour’s community outreach initiative, FLW will be working in conjunction with Goodwill Beyond Jobs Career Center. The Beyond Jobs program helps women find employment, advance in their careers and ensure long-term financial stability for their families. FLW pros will be on hand at the Goodwill of North Georgia’s Oakwood Store and Career Center, located at 3715 Mundy Mill Road in Oakwood, Ga., Aug. 9 from noon-2 p.m. to meet shoppers, sign autographs and hold fishing seminars as well as educate shoppers about the partnership between Goodwill and FLW.
Coverage of the Forrest Wood Cup will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs Sept. 16 from 1-2 p.m. ET.